Triumph of Innocence
‘Cancer Wardile Chiri’ is authored by Malayalam actor-comedian Innocent which includes his experiences when he was a cancer patient. The book sold almost 12000 copies within a short span of time. An excerpt from the book is shared below
The world which gave me an identity, the film field where I grew and conquered whatever I have now, the world of Cinema, seems very distant now. The life as an actor has almost ended, so another chance in movies is out of my mind now.
It was during this time, an organization named ‘Ahalia Money Exchange’ approached me for doing an Ad. I have worked with them once. They knew I had cancer, but came to know from some source that I am recovering.
I told them I have to consult my doctor regarding the same. But my wife Alice was cross. She feared of infection if I travelled, doctor had especially mentioned it. She was tensed about the treatment until now, which would become worthless if something bad happened.
Though I didn’t respond to her reactions. I accepted it half-heartedly. The treatments including chemotherapy consumed too high charges and never left my mind.
Acting in Ad Films would gain you more money than in a feature film. And the effort too is less. I thought if I get that money, then 4 chemo payments could be managed. I explained this idea to wife Alice and Dr Gangadharan.
Dr Gangadharan encouraged me to go, but reminded me to take more care. Alice was not OK, still she didn’t say no. We went back home. I prepared myself in the morning the day the crew from Ahalia notified their coming.
When I stood before the mirror, tears filled my eyes. My hair was all gone, body was weak and my dress appeared as if on a cloth hanger, pale eyes, shrunken cheeks and on the whole I was sickening to the eyes of a beholder.
I feared the Ahalia crew would never opt me for their Ad. I called Sonu, my son and asked him to buy me a better wig from Shakkeer. I received it immediately. I wore a T-shirt which was the smallest in my collection. Then put on some powder.
The team from Ahalia arrived around afternoon. They were a group of 3-4 people. I stood before them for some time, then sat down, but never showed I was weak. They stared at me for a long time. Suddenly they got up and started whispering to each other. I feared they would return without shooting. Horrible thoughts surrounded my head.
After a long silence, one of them announced they are leaving and would come after a week. I changed back and returned to be a cancer patient. One week passed by, I got ready and waited for their arrival. I grew more tensed as time flew fast. They came around the evening. They sat there and stared at me like the last time.
My heart beat became more loud. I feared they would leave this time too and would never return. But they passed over the advance money and said the shooting is scheduled at Ernakulam.
It was during this time I had a special injection which should be taken from time to time. It was to keep the count balanced. A small bottle containing three drops of the liquid cost ten thousand rupees.
The bottle needed cold storage. So it was kept in a small box filled with ice, along with a syringe and carried to Ernakulam during the shoot. The shooting location was near Tripunithura but a little remote from there. Since shooting was happening for the first time in this location, a big crowd had already gathered to watch.
My body was weak but I tried not to show. People kept asking me questions about new movies, other actors and may other things. I somehow answered them all. They kept watching me like I was some kind of an alien object.
I need to take injection in the afternoon and for that I needed a nurse. There was a clinic nearby. But it would open only in the late afternoon. But I needed the injection urgently.
Someone mentioned a lady who was a nurse in Gulf and have come for vacation. I knew that those who go to gulf for babysitting are also called nurse. When I enquired about it, they said Kochumol (nurse) has worked in a government hospital as nurse while she was here.
She came ten minutes early before the time she was asked. She had a group of children following her with loud whistles and laughs. Kochumol was a shy lady. She took the bottle and got ready to inject the liquid. I was sitting on a chair. So she sat beside me and slowly injected the liquid into my hands.
She managed to make conversation with me by asking about Mammotty, Mohanlal and Dileep. I tried to answer her queries. I felt a cold on my palms and noticed 2 drops of the liquid fall out of the syringe. My heart panged seeing my ten thousand vanish into thin air. I mentioned it to her, but she just laughed. She thought it funny. Others laughed too.
I somehow completed the shoot, collected the balance money and returned back home the same night. But by midnight I started to feel the temperature and by morning I became very weak.
Alice and Sonu took me to Lakeshore Hospital. The temperature was too high. The count became too low and it was a critical situation. I was hospitalized for 15 days.
Slowly I recovered and started getting back to normal. I got discharged. PRO Rekha was ready at the Lakeshore reception with the bills. She was a great help during my hospital days. She passed the bill to Sonu, he examined it and passed it over to Alice.
I asked for it but Alice was not ready to show it to me. Because the bills were too high. I somehow managed to put my hands over the bill. It was double the money to what I got from the Ad shoot.
I felt really sick and a heaviness came over my heart. I lay down on my bed and pulled the sheets onto my face, I heard Alice saying as if to someone, “Greed fails, Science Wins”